Skip to main content

Full text of "Voyage of Miss Brackett with Colonel Stone : performed mentally, through the air, while under the influence of animal magnetism, to a city distant 200 miles ..."

See other formats

(f Dute 

University i'^Vedical IJenter Library M 
Irent (jollection •!) 

Gift of 


^ Tke 


ol the 1 rent 

Ijolieetion V] 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 











The Extraordinary Phenomena having been Investigated at the Bequest of a 



Belief in the .Mysterious Influence of Animal 91agnetism. 

" Fraud, deception, imposture — in the matters which I have related — were entirely out of 
the question ; and I cannot distrust the evidence of my own senses, where all the circum- 
stances were such as to render deception or cuarlatanerie impossible. The weight of other 
testimony depends on the character of the witnesses for veracity, their means of knowing 
the facts related and their exemption from motives to distort the truth. Such was the 
character of the parties with whom I was in communication daring my visit to Miss 
Bbackett, and I have strictly confined myself to a NARRATIVE OF FACTS which 


" Netv York, Oct. 1837." " WILLIAM L. STONE." 


stationers' HALL COURT. 

1838.— PRICE Is. Qd. 


London : Printed by Mills and Son, 
Gough-square, Fleet-street. 



Instead of writing a long preface to the truly startling 
narrative which is here presented in its unabridged and na- 
tive state to the English public^ the Editor has^ by prefer- 
ence^ appended to various parts of the statement, notes and 
remarks. The alleged facts, as they arise, force from the 
reader only ejaculatory comments, and with the Editor, gave 
origin to reflections which he could not satisfactorily mould 
into a formal introduction to this wonderful relation. To the 
question, which every one who scrutinizes the allegations 
v/ill be at once disposed to offer, " Do you believe these 
statements r" the Editor begs, for himself, to decline fur- 
nibhing a reply, lest he should too soon render himself liable 
to the sarcasm of having given " a foolish answer." it is his 
dutj^ however, both to the public on this side of the At- 
lantic, and to the author of the narrative, to supply, at once, 
every particular connected therewith which can afford to 
others an opportunity of judging whether the letter of 
Colonel Stone is or is not an invention of some novelist; 
is or is not filled with pure inventions ; and thus enable 
them to say, if they choose, after perusing the document, 
whether they believe the letter to be, or not, a faithful rela- 
tion, and its entire contents to bear, or to be devoid of, the 
satisfactory impress of truth, marvellous, most marvellous, 
though they be. Let no one prematurely decide that, because 
the original document bears the date of America, — the " land 
of many jokes," — it is to be promptly regarded as a fiction. 
B 2 

Unfortunately for that country, its spirit of fun has cre- 
ated so many " crocketts " for the amusement of the world, 
that grave folks at a distance cannot credit anything " un- 
common" which issues from its press. If, however, there be 
many wits in America, there are many fools out of it, who 
lack the power to discriminate between what is written for 
laughter, and what for information. The judicious reader 
will allow discrimination to occupy the post of prejudice, 
on the present occasion ; and suffer even the Wonderful 
to have a chance of obtaining credit.* 

The London publisher will, probably, gain attention to the 
sheets which are now in the reader's hands, by means of a 
somewhat descriptive title-page ; but the statement of Mr. 
Stone, who possesses, from a former military station, the title 
also of Colonel, is simply thus introduced by himself : — 

** Letter to Doctor A. Brigham on Animal Magnetism: being 
AN Account of a remarkable Interview between the Author 

BULISM. By William L. Stone. 

" ' There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' — Shakespeare. 

*' New York: George Dearborn and Co. 1837. 

" Entered, according to an Act of Congress of the United States of America, in the year 
1837, by Geosge Dearborn, in the Clerks' Office of the Southern District of New York. 

" Scatcherd and Adams, Printers, No. 38, Gold-street." 

The immediate cause which elicited the narrative, is thus 
explained by a letter from Dr. Brigham to Mr. Stone : — 

• The italics in the narrative are not employed by Colonel Stone, but by 
the present Editor; not for the sake of increasing astonishment at parts 
which are sufficiently astonishing without such marks, but rather, most of 
them, to distinguish the more important and weighty of the various facts. 

Letter from Dr, Brigham to Mr, Stone, 

" New York, Sept. 1837. 

"My dear Sir, — Understanding that you have recently 
witnessed many experiments, and even performed some 
yourself, illustrative of the power of animal magnetism, and 
have become a believer in this new art, science, or imposture, 
I am exceedingly desirous of knowing what phenomena, wit- 
nessed by yourself, have served to convince you. 

^'Animal magnetism has attracted the attention of the 
most scientific men in Europe, some of whom believe in the 
extraordinary power ascribed to it. That very remarkable 
effects may result from extreme sensibility, or disease of the 
nervous system, I can readily believe. We see such in cata- 
lepsy, somnambulism, &c. We read of such in every age. 
In every age great moral commotions, by affecting the orga- 
nization of some very sensitive persons, have produced very 
singular physical and intellectual phenomena. The Trem- 
bleurs des Cevennes, and the Convulsionnaires de St. Menard, 
are memorable instances. Many of the results attributed to 
animal magnetism may be accounted for, by supposing an 
unusual augmentation of sensibility. But other phenomena 
ascribed to it cannot be thus explained ; and an immensity 
of proof appears to me to be necessary, in order to establish 
things so extraordinary and so contrary to the common 
sense, and to the testimony of all times. 

" The facts which have served to make you a believer in 
animal magnetism, must be curious and interesting, and 
when your leisure permits, I beg you will furnish them in 
detail, that others may know on what evidence one who has 
been charged with a lamentable want of credulity on some 
subjects, and who must be disinterested, has become con- 
vinced of the truth of these most incredible phenomena. — 
Very respectfully your friend, 

" A. Brigham.'' 
** To William L. Stone, Esq." 


The letter next presented in these pages^ is the reply of 
Mr. Stone to Dr. Brigham. Respecting Mr. Stone, we 
may add that he is a well-known writer and critic in New 
York, of most respectable private character, and the avowed 
Editor of a newspaper in that city. Dr. Brigham is a phy- 
sician of high reputation in New York, and, as well as Dr. 
Capron, of the city of Providence,* is known, by his scien- 
tific communications in the medical periodicals, to many of 
the best-informed physicians in England. Mr. (or Colonel) 
Stone has recently issued, through his booksellers, Messrs. 
DEARBor.x, of New York, proposals for publishing the life 
of a great Mohawk chief, " Captain of the Six Nations,'* 
Joseph Brant, the savage warrior of Campbell's " Ger- 
trude of Wyomhig," formerly a correspondent with many 
distinguished individuals in England, and at one time pre- 
sented at the Court of St. James's. Mr. Stone may thus 
be regarded as a veritable personage ; while every word of 
his narrative bears testimony that its author is, at the least, 
a candid and straightforward man. 

Certainly one thing will be gained by this publication. 
The reflecthig portion of the public in England will here 
become aware how forcible and imposing is some of the evi- 
dence that is being presented to the world in favour of the 
claims of '^Animal Magnetism " to general and serious at- 

W. D. 

London, Feb. 2n(l, 1838. 

* Providence is the largest town of the State of Rhode Island, chief of a 
county of its liame, and the semi- capital of the Siate. It has a large inland 
and foreign trade. Its longitude is 71 26" W., Latitude 41 51 N. It is 36 
miles S. W. from Boston, and about 200 from New York.— Ed. 


Letter of Mr. Stone to Dr. Brigham, 

New York, September 10, 1837. 

Dear Sir^ — Your favour of the 1st instant reached me 
several days since, and in so far as a *^ round unvarnished 
tale ^' will serve the purposes of your inquiry, I can have not 
the slightest objection to a compliance with your request. I 
can the more readily do this, from the circumstance that the 
greatest portion of the labour is already performed ; that is, 
if you refer, as I presume you do, to certain circumstances 
connected with animal magnetism, which transpired during 
a brief visit recently made by me to the city of Providence. 
A full narration of that visit, so far as it was connected with 
the science of animal magnetism,/^/^^/?/ 5o called, — for I hold 
that nothing can rightly be regarded as a science, which has 
not been reduced to fixed principles, — was written imme- 
diately after my return, while all the circumstances were 
fresh in my recollection. And in order to ensure still greater 
accuracy, I have since made another visit to Rhode Island, 
and submitted the manuscript to several persons who were 
present at the time when the events related occurred. 

Before I proceed to the main design of the present commu- 
nication, however, allow me to correct a misapprehension into 
which, like many others of my friends, you have been betrayed 


by loose reports. The inference from your letter is, that I 
have suddenly become a convert to animal magnetism, to 
the whole extent claimed and practised by F. A. Mesmer, the 
founder of the art, and contended for by Wolfart and Kluge, 
and the other German and French enthusiasts who have 
written in explanation and support of the system. This is 
an error. / am not a positive believer in the system, because 
I know not what to believe. And yet, I am free to confess, 
I have recently beheld phenomena, under circumstances 
where collusion^ deception, fraud, and imposture, were alike 
out of the question, if not impossible, which have brought me 
from the position of a positive sceptic to a dead pause. 
From the evidence of my own senses, I have been compel- 
led, if not to relinquish, at least very essentially to modify my 
belief, and I can no longer deny, although I cannot explain 
the extraordinary phenomena produced by the exertion of 
the mental energy of one person upon the mind of another, 
while in a state of what is termed magnetic slumber. Still, 
I pray you not to write me down as a believer in the charla- 
tanerie of Mesmer and Deslon, or as a disciple of M. Poyen, 
or as an encourager of the other strolling dealers in somnam- 
bulism, who traverse the country, exhibiting their " sleep- 
ing beauties '' as lovers, not of science, but of gain. 

For many months past, in common with most readers, if 
not all, of the public journals, I had seen much upon the 
subject of animal magnetism, particularly in connexion with 
M. Poyen and his pupil (Miss Gleason). The illustrations 
of M. Poyen, and the exploits of Miss Gleason while under 
the magnetic influence imparted by him, had been standing 
themes of comment in the New England papers. I had seen 
that M. Poyen was favoured by many believers, some of them 
even among the disciples of ^Esculapius. There were others, 
laymen and members of the Faculty of Medicine, who 
doubted. Others, again, and probably by far the largest 
class, were positive sceptics. These were doing all in their 
power to discredit the professor (M. Poyen), his science and 
his patient, both by argument and ridicule. Still, M. Poyen 
persisted in the illustrations of his favourite science, and I 


had noted that accessions to the number of believers in his 
system were occasionally gained^ even from the ranks of the 
learned and the wise. Educated myself, however, in the belief 
that Mesmer was an impostor, that his followers were enthu- 
siasts, and his patients affected, if at all, only through the 
workings of their own imaginations, and disliking, exceed- 
ingly, the public exhibitions he was making for money, I was 
not only an unbeliever, but a satirist, of the whole affair. 

Not long afterwards it was reported that the system of 
M. Poyen had not only been introduced into the city of Pro- 
vidence, but that the illustrations exhibited there had made 
a deep impression upon some of the soundest and best ba- 
lanced minds in that city and its vicinity. The publications 
upon tlie subject assumed a grave character, and the names 
which were quoted were mentioned as being those of persons 
who, if not full believers in the science, had at least been 
brought to admit that there was something mysterious in the 
developments daily making of the extent and power of the 
magnetic influence, both upon the bodies and the minds of 
those who had been made subjects of it, caused me to pause, 
and to question of myself, — " whereunto these things would 
grow." Still I was a sturdy unbeliever. The early history 
of animal magnetism was familiar to me. I, also, as well as 
you, had read of the Convulsionnaires of St. Menard, and of 
the strange epidemic which set half of the nuns in Christ- 
endom simultaneously mewing like cats ; as well as of the 
still stranger doings among various religionists in Kentucky, 
some thirty or forty years ago ; and, of course, I had not 
forgotten the melancholy delusion which once overspread 
New England, in regard to witchcraft. My inclination, 
therefore, was to write down animal magnetism in the same 
catalogue of the eccentricities, if not the absurdities, of the 
human mind, and to look upon its extension in Rhode 
Island as the work, if not of credulity and imposture, at 
least of mental excitement, sympathy, and delusion. 

Such, in brief, were my views and feelings with regard to 
animal magnetism, until on or about the 22nd day of Au- 
gust (1837)5 when a letter was placed in my hands by a 


gentleman of the city of Providence, from a distinguished 
prelate in the Episcopal Church,* then on a visit to that 
city, inviting my attention to the subject, and intimating the 
writer's belief, that were I to investigate the phenomena of 
the magnetic influence myself, I might perhaps be more 
sparing of my sarcasms in relation to it. The letter was 
one of introduction, and I entered immediately into conver- 
sation with the bearer on the subject, of which he was full. 
He confirmed various reports which had previously reached 
me, and also the fact that the new science (I use the word 
for its convenience, not for its correctness) was seriously 
engaging the attention of men of science and learning in 
Providence — physicians, philosophers,theologians, — and that 
the results of many experiments were causing it to be re- 
garded with grave and increasing interest. He likewise 
related to me a number of facts of a surprising character, of 
the truth of which I could only entertain a doubt by im- 
peaching the character of my informant for veracity. His 
manner, moreover, was such as to convince me that he was 
sincere in what he said. He spoke of a number of patients 
in Providence, under the charge of several physicians, who 
had been subjected to the magnetic treatment, with wonder- 
ful results. Among these he told me of a blind young lady, 
upon whom some surprising experiments had been made. 
I was informed that, although blind, yet, when in a state of 
magnetic slumber, she had been sent to a fancy dry-goods' 
store,t to select various articles of merchandise, and that 
she performed the service as well as a lady of perfect sight 
ivould have done it. He also stated to me, that by the will 
of the magnetiser she would go into a flower-garden, ivhen 
asleep, and cull various flowers of various hues. It was like- 
wise stated, that she had read a note sent to her from a dis- 
tance, under three envelopes, and that a statement of the 
contents was sent back to the writer (who was at the time 
unknown), the seals of the envelopes remaining unbroken. 

A Bishop, who is again mentioned at page 49.— Ed. 
t A toy and ornament warehouse.— Ed. 


These and several other extraordinary experiments men- 
tioned to me in the course of the interview, could not but 
create a strong desire on my part to investigate the subject 
for myself. It happened that I was then making prepara- 
tions to visit some friends in Providence, and I left New 
York with a determination, if possible, to see the blind lady, 
and have the evidence of my own senses with regard to the 
exercise of this recently revived, and, if true, most wonder- 
ful influence. 

I arrived in Providence on Saturday the 26th of August 
(1837), and my inquiries, which were immediate, respecting 
the above-mentioned reports, resulted in the confirmation, 
substantially, of their truth. Of course, my curiosity was 
greatly excited, and my anxiety to see the young lady in- 
creased in a corresponding ratio. I was informed, more- 
over, that the young lady was of most respectable character, 
and of decided and unaffected piety ; that she was a patient 
of Dr. George Capron, a physician of established reputation, 
and superior to all the devices and designs of quackery, 
charlatanism, or imposture. 

The name of the young lady is Loraina Brackett, from 
the town of Dudley, Massachusetts. Four years since, as I 
have learned from her friends (particularly from Dr. Ca- 
pron), she had the misfortune to have an iron weight, of 
several pounds weight, fall from a considerable elevation on 
the crown of her head. The injury was so severe as to de- 
prive her almost of life, and entirely of her reason for several 
months, " during which time she was subject to the most 
violent, nervous, and other serious derangements of the ner- 
vous system. From the immediate effects of this injury she 
gradually recovered, and, at the end of the year, her general 
health was partially restored."* But, notwithstanding this 

* This sentence, and one that follows, a few lines farther on, is marked hy 
the author with inverted commas (" "), probably because those parts of the 
statement were supplied (ipsissimis verbis) by the physician in attendance on 
the young lady. At least, so we are led to expect from a remark at the close 
of the historv of her rnaladv. — Ed. 


improvement of her bodily health, her eyes were so badly 
affected by this injury, as to produce amaurosis (a disease of 
the optic nerves, the nerves of vision), which threatened 
total blindness. As is usual in cases of this disease, the 
loss of sight was very gradual, until, about eighteen months 
since, it was entirely extinguished. " Simultaneously with 
the loss of sight, she sustained a loss of voice, so complete, 
that for fifteen months she was unable to utter a single gut- 
tural sound, and could only whisper in almost inaudible 

Her case was considered to be hopeless by her friends, 
and in May last (183/) arrangements were made for sending 
her to the Blind School, at Boston, under the charge of Dr. 
S. G. Howe, where it was hoped that she might be qualified 
to become a teacher of the blind. When on her way to 
Boston, in May last, she took the city of Providence in her 
road, for the purpose of visiting some friends in that city. 
It happened that Dr. Capron was the physician of one of 
the families w^hich Miss Brackett was visiting, and having 
thus become acquainted v/ith her history, and learnt that all 
the usual remedies for the deplorable malady under w^hich 
she w^as labouring had been employed for her relief in vain. 
Dr. Capron, having had some brief experience as a magne- 
tiser, and being then engaged in the investigation of its 
remedial effects, after examining her case, as a matter of 
curiosity, proposed the magnetic treatment. As you are 
yourself a physician, I need not remind you that amaurosis 
often assumes i\\Q paralytic character, and that animal mag- 
netism has from the iirst been prescribed by the practisers 
of the art, in cases of neurology,* and especially those of 
a paralytic character. 

The consent of Miss Brackett and her friends for that 
purpose having been obtained, the practice was commenced 
iu May (1837), and has been continued, daily, with few in- 
termissions, until the present time. The results, in vnnedical 
point of view, have been the most salutary. Her voice has 

* Patients affected with diseases of the nerves.— Ed. 


been entirely restored, so that it is clear, and her enunciation 
is distinct and agreeable. Her natural sight (to say nothing 
of that mysterious faculty which is called *^ mental vision/' 
or, by the French, clairvoyance), has been so far recovered 
from total blindness, that she can now distinguish light from 
darkness. She can, ivhen awake, only discern objects like 
shadows ; she cannot distinguish a man from a woman by 
the dress. 

Such, in brief, was the history of this young lady, and the 
cause and extent of her malady, communicated to me shortly 
after my arrival in Providence, and more fully by Dr. Capron 
and others since. I was farther informed, that the young lady 
was diffident and retiring in her manners, and of delicate 
and sensitive feelings ; and that neither herself, nor her 
friends, nor her physician, were ambitious of any thing ap- 
proaching to a public exhibition. On the contrary, they 
preferred remaining without public observation, I ought 
here to add, that Miss B. had received a good education pre- 
viously to the accident which subjected her to such painful 
deprivations, and that her friends in Providence sustain cha- 
racters not only respectable, but irreproachable. 

Having thus satisfied myself (by information derived from 
the most unquestionable authorities) that, with regard to 
the case, the half, even, which the facts would have war- 
ranted had not been told to me ; and that, however extraor- 
dinary might be the appearances, or however surprising the 
developments of the mysterious influence which was asserted 
by the magnetisers to exist, yet neither Miss Brackett 
herself, nor her friends, would be guilty of deception, or ac- 
cessary (directly or indirectly) to an imposture ; the next 
step was, if possible, to obtain an interview. 

This object was accomplished at my own urgent solicita- 
tion, and through the interposition of a distinguished lite- 
rary friend, who was acquainted with the young lady and 
her protectors. I was entirely unacquainted with them all, 
and was introduced to Dr. Capron only on Saturday after- 
noon, August 2(5th (1837). I found Dr. C. to be all that 
he had been described to me; an intelligent gentleman. 


alike above imposture, deception, collusion, and quackery. 
He remarked that the friends of Miss Brackett had objected 
to any public exhibition, or any thing like display before 
strangers. However, by his influence, and the exertions of 
my friend, an interview for experiment was arranged for the 
then ensuing Monday morning, at 10 o'clock, at which a 
few of my friends were to be present. Meantime, I heard 
other and farther relations of the wonderful effects of mag- 
netic influence on the system, the senses, and the mental 
faculties, not only of Miss Brackett, but of other som- 
nambulists in Providence and its vicinity, — the patients of 
physicians of undoubted character. With regard to Miss 
Brackett, I was assured, upon authority not to be ques- 
tioned, that the power of seeing objects not present, or, ra- 
ther, of transporting herself, in imagination, from one place 
to another, no matter how distant, and of viewing objects 
and scenes which she had never seen or heard described, and 
giving correct accounts of them herself, had been strikingly 
displayed in many instances. One gentleman had taken her 
(mentally — Ed.) to Washington, where she accurately de- 
scribed the localities, the capitol, and the leading objects 
within and around it. Another friend, some time since, had 
taken her to New York, placed her in the Park, and con- 
ducted her to sundry other places. On one occasion, while 
making her supposed voyage in a steam-boat, she became 
sea-sick, and presented the actual unfeigned symptoms of that 
nauseating disease,^ In addition to this, Mr. Hopkins, the 
gentleman at whose house she was to meet us (for the new 
experiment), took her, on the evening of the Sabbath, on the 
day before that on which I was to see her (the Monday 
above-mentioned, — Ed.), to Saratoga Springs,! whence he 
and Mrs. Hopkins had just returned -, and Mr. H. told me on 

* A very singular reference to this alleged fact will be found in page 21 of 
this Pamphlet. But many thmgs more startling to the credence, yet more 
plausibly avouched, occur in the whole history.— Ed. 

t In imagination, we presume, tliough that word is not in the text here. 


Monday morning, that her description of the buildings and 
localities at the Springs was correct ; and that when, in 
fancy, he took her to the Congress fountain, to drink of the 
water ; she dashed it from her, on tasting, and said that she 
disliked it, suiting the muscular action of her features to the 
expression of that dislike.* 

With such information in my possession, I determined, in 
my own mind, upon a course of examination which would 
test the case most thoroughly, and in a manner which should 
render deception, delusion, and imposition of every kind, 
entirely out of the question, even did not the excellent cha- 
racter of all the parties afford an ample guarantee against 
any attempt of the sort. But I kept several of the particu- 
lar tests which I meant to employ, entirely within my own 
bosom, not imparting a hint or a suggestion of my design, 
even to my most intimate friends. 

Agreeably to appointment, we met at the house of Mr. 
Hopkins, a few minutes before 10 o'clock, on Monday 
morning the 28th August, 1837- There were present, be 
sides myself. 

The literary friend already referred to 3 

Another clergyman, with his daughter, and another 
young lady ; 

Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins ; 

Mr. Isaac Thurber -, 

Another gentleman, whose name I do not recollect 3 f 

Doctor C APRON. 

The patient was presently ushered into the room. We 
were all introduced to her, and passed a few moments in 

* Many persons of lively and sensitive facuUies woukl, iucouimon slum- 
ber, enact a part in keeping with reality, on some impression being made 
upon the sense of hearing which led them to dream of a particular situation 
or circumstance. — Ed. 

t The addresses of several of these persons are not given, probably ]be- 
cause they are well known in the locality in which Mr. Stone's statement 
was, among other places, originally circulated. — Ed. 


agreeable conversation. I found her of delicate mind and 
manners, modest, and diffident. None could see her without 
being favourably impressed in her behalf. She was, of 
course, aware of the object of our visit, and Dr. Capron 
soon took a seat near her, and commenced the process of 
what is called " magnetising." 

I ought before to have remarked, that Dr. Capron had 
previously cautioned me not to expect too great things, since 
it was a matter of uncertainty whether the slumber would 
be profound, and the mind clear ; and whether, moreover, 
she might not become wayward and obstinate after being 
thrown into sleep. Much, he said, depended on the calmness 
of his own mind, and the intensity of \i^ fixedness upon the 
business in hand. Much also depended upon the state of 
mind of the patient. The process was chiefly by the action 
of the eyes, with some slight manipulations. In these, 
however, there was nothing disagreeable or objectionable in 
the remotest degree, even to the most refined and sensitive 

In five minutes the patient gave signs of drowsiness, and 
in four minutes more she was in a deep and profound slum- 
ber, insensible, as we ascertained by experiment, alike to 
the touch and the voices of all present, excepting her phy- 
sician. He then told her that he wished her to be in com- 
munication with all of us, and to converse with all the com- 
pany present who wished to speak with her. On the instant 
she seemed aware that she was in the company of several 
people, and gave indications of displeasure. 

" I don't like to be looked at in this way by strangers," 
she said.* 

Dr Capron attempted to soothe her, but she manifested 
displeasure, and said that she would not stay to be thus 
gazed at by strangers. 

* It will be seen, presently, that the patient wag additionally blinded at 
the time. — E». 


Dr, Capron. ^^ But they are not strangers : they are your 
friends. You have been introduced to them, and after being 
introduced, people are no longer strangers/' 

Miss Brackett. " I'll not be looked at in this way : I 
will leave the room 3" saying which, she arose with offended 
dignity, and walked towards the door. 

I began now to fear that the experiment was ended, and 
that her obstinacy could not be removed. The doctor, how- 
ever, took her hand, and succeeded in changing her purpose, 
when she walked into another part of the drawing-room. 

It had been arranged, that the first experiments should be 
made for the purpose of eliciting some of the phenomena of 
clairvoyance, or mental vision. For this purpose a collection 
was at hand of various prints, large and small, likenesses of 
distinguished persons, &c., with which my friend had pro- 
vided himself from his own house. With some of these, the 
front parlour had been hung before we entered it from the 
back room, while the smaller prints were thrown upon the 
centre table. It must here be borne in mind, in the first 
place, as has already been several times remarked, that the 
patient is blind. Her eyelids, moreover were entirely 
closed ; in addition to which, cotton batts were placed over 
her eyes, and confined by a pair of green spectacles. It 
would, therefore, have been impossible for her to see ; or, 
rather, any other person would have been involved in the 
deepest darkness, with eyes thus closed, and cotton batts 
over them. 

Soon after going into the room (the front-parlour or draw- 
ing-room) she appeared to see the pictures and admire them. 
This fact was tested in every way. From repugnance to so 
much company, however, the little circle drew as much as 
possible away from her, and her chief conversation on the 
subject of pictures was held with my friend, with whom, both 
sleeping and waking, she had previously been acquainted. 
Invariably when she studied a picture, she turned her back 
upon the wall against which it hung. When she took up a 


print to examine it^ she held it at the back of her head, or, 
rather, just over the parietal bone.* 

With my friend she conversed freely, and selected, from 
among the small prints, a likeness of Mrs. Jiidson, whose 
life she said she had read several times. 

She took up a portrait, while standing at the side of the 
room opposite to my friend and myself, and putting it to the 
sideoi her head, almost behind, as she remained alone, in- 
quired, ^^ Is not this a likeness of John Foster ? John — yes, 
it is John Foster.'* I immediately passed around the table to 
her, and held a brief conversation with her respecting the 
character and writings of Foster, of whom there had not 
been a word said before she selected his picture and pro- 
nounced his name. 

Her reading of the names on the prints was very slow, as 
she read by ^' lettering,^' as the Freemasons call it ; that is, 
by studying each letter, and first repeating it in a whisper^ 
as though to herself. But she made no mistakes that were 
discovered. She had an objection to read, arising from an 
idea (if we were looking at the picture with her) that we 
knew as well as she, and that it was idle in us to ask her 
what we could not be ignorant of. If, however, she was 
holding a picture by herself, in a different part of the room, 
on asking her the question, " Whose likeness she was looking 
at," she would answer correctly^ as in the case of John 

Sometimes she would exhibit the simplicity of childhood, 
as in the instance of an allegorical print which was suspended 
against the wall, the inscription on which was " America 

* This statement, at the first blush, would appear to fall under the category 
,of" proving too much ;" but it may be fairly considered that reporters of 
experiments with magnetism would be especially anxious to avoid that error 
of an advocate; and, in the next place, to a blind person, the back of the 
head and the front must be equally sensible, or insensible, to vision. Though 
the question naturally arises, '* Why present the back?" It may, however, be 
observed here, that the back of the head was made the region of study^ for 
(according to the statements) to see was an easy act with the front. But the 
termini of the nerves of vision may be about as readily reached with a probe 
through the back or side as through the front of the brain.— Ed. 

J 9 

guided by Wisdom." My friend asked her to read it. She 
replied that " she would read half of it, if he would read the 
other half." 

She theu, after a moment's study, read "America guided," 
and would read no more, insisting, playfully, that the gentle- 
man referred to must read the other two words.* 

In the earl}- part of this exhibition she suddenly exclaimed, 
•' Why, who could have put that there f It is no ornament 
to such a room as this ;" saying which, she stepped across 
the carpet, and took down a coarsely-printed handbill, which 
had been suspended among the prints over the mantelpiece, 
by design, but which had not attracted my notice until she 
thus directed the attention of the circle to the object. 

Having satisfied ourselves of the wonderful powers of 
*' vision without the use of visual organs," as exhibited upon 
these objects, and of which I have given but a brief outline, 
Dr. Capron, by an exercise of the will,t withdrew her at- 
tention from the whole circle to himself, and then gave her a 
particular introduction to me. Leading her to a seat, I sat 
down by her side, and the doctor transferred her hand into 
mine, and clothed me with the power of enjoying her exclu- 
sive company. 

I then commenced a conversation with Miss Brackett 
upon ordinary subjects, just as I would have done with any 

♦ These details are calculated to make a strong impression on the mind of 
the reader in favour of the veracity and sincerity of the relater. They bear 
no evidence of invention.- Ed. 

t The writer of this note, in conversing with some of those medical gentle- 
men of high reputation who have recently practised '* animal magnetism ** 
iu London, has made it a point to question them as to the extent of this ex- 
ercise of " the will'' during the process, and as to whether the necessity for 
its employment, in order to pi'oduce particular effects on the patient, has 
been undoubtedly apparent to their minds. In each case the reply has been 
in the affirmative as to its exercise and its necessity ; that they have exer- 
cised a will, and considered it to be necessary ; but in no instance have they 
seemed able to explain how a thought, or a command, exerted by and passing 
in one mind, could, or did, influence the act of another jjerson, without any 
expression being used which was noticeable by an individual who, awake dn- 
ring the experiment, was watching the process nnd its results. — Ed. 



strange lady to whom I might be introduced, — talking upon 
various matters, and she conversing in a sprightly and in- 
telligent manner, invariably using very correct English. I 
inquired, both of herself and her friends, before she was 
magnetised, whether she had ever been in New York, and 
was assured that she had not. 

In the course of my remarks, I now asked her 'Svhether 
she would like to visit New York ? '' 

She replied that she would. " She should like to go 
there very well.'' 

I then observed that it would afford me pleasure to ac- 
company her, and I asked, " How shall we go ? Sliall we 
not take the steam-boat Narragansett f It is a very fine 
boat, and now lies at the dock." 

She replied that she " did not like to go in a steam-boat ; 
it made her sick.'' 

This remark was noted as affording an illustration of her 
former ideal voyafi,e (see page 1 4) in which, as was reported 
to me, she actually became sea-sick. 

Mr, Stone, " How then will you go ? " 

Miss B, " I should like to go through the air." 

"Very well," I replied; "we will step into a balloon. 
That will be a pleasant mode of travelling." She did not, 
however, seem to comprehend what was meant by a balloon, 
and repeated her desire to go through the air. I assured her 
that I would as gladly accompany her that way as any 

^' But you must not let me fall," she said. 

"O no," I replied, "I am used to that way of travelling, and 
will bear you up in perfect safety ; " whereupon she grasped 
my hand more firmly, took my left hand, and pressed upon 
both, tremulously, as if buoying herself up. I raised my 
hands ten or twelve inches, very slowly, favouring the idea 
that she was ascending. 

" You must keep me up," she said, with a slight convul- 
sive, or rather, a shuddering grasp, as though apprehensive 
of a fall. 

" Certainly," I replied. "' You need have no fear ; I am 


used to these excursions ; ^^ and away, in imagination, we 

(A short pause here occurred in the dialogue, and oc- 
casionally elsewhere, also. — Ed.) 

^^ There is Bristol ! '' she exclaimed. ^^ Stop ; we must 
look at Bristol. I have been here before. I always admired 
it. What beautiful streets ! '' 

^^ Very beautiful, indeed," I replied, and we resumed our 
aerial voyage. 

^^ O ! " said she, " how I like to travel in this way ! It 
is so easy, and we go so quick." 

" Yes," I answered, ^^ and here we are at New York. 
Come, we will descend at the north end of the battery." She 
then grasped my hands more closely, and bore down exactly 
as though descending from a height. 

" Safely down," said I. '^ There is the dock where the 
Providence steam-boat comes in." 

'' Indeed ! " she replied. '^ But it is not so good a place 
as where it came in before,*' 

I have already stated, that she had some time previously 
(see page 14) made a short imaginary visit to New York, 
in a steam-boat. The places of landing have during the 
present season been changed from Market and Chamber's-- 
streets, to the north end of the Battery.^ I am uncertain, 
however, whether the change was made before or since that 
voyage, as I forgot to inquire into the particulars of that 
point, although I mentioned the fact of the change of the 
landing-place to the circle, and it is possible that her voyage 
took place before the change. 

I now asked her whether she w^ould like to step into 
Castle Garden for a few minutes. 

She replied, ^^ Yes ; " but immediately asked, how we 
should get through the gate, I answered that there would be 
no difficulty, as I had a season-ticket. 

* A fact to make us start again, if we find it impossible to start at every 
thing that is related, though the astonishment i,9 slightly checked by the 
remark which follows.— Ed, 


"But," said ?.he, '' I don't like the looks of that man by 
the gate/* 

I told l:cr that she need have no fear. He was a constable, 
or police-officer {they ahvoys had somebody of that character 
by the gate)y but he knew me very well, and would open the 
gate as soon as we should come up. 

'^ There ! " said she ; " I told you we could not get the 
gate open." 

*^ But/' said I, " we can go through the side gate here. 
Come, here we are." 

'^ It does not seem much like a garden," she said. 

"Very true," I replied. " It was an old fort, which has 
been fitted up as a place of amusement. It is here that they 
get up grand displays of fireworks." 

Miss B. " I am not fond of fireworks : I never cared 
about seeing them." 

Mr, S, " But they don't get th^m up in the day-time j 
and only on festival occasions. At other times, people come 
here to get fresh air, drink lemonade and punch, and smoke 

Miss B. " Do they allow them to smoke in the garden ?" 

"It is unfortunately so," I replied. 

At this moment she appeared to act cautiously, as though 
experiencing the sensations of stepping upon a bridge. I 
spoke too quickly, and said, "the bridge was perfectly safe, 
and we could walk along." I then observed a smile playing 
upon her features. 

" What pleases you ?" I inquired. 

" Why,*' said she, " what a queer hat that man has got 
on !" 

Mr, S. "Whatman ?" 

Miss B. " Why, that man with the large round hat, like 
a quaker's. 

Mr, S. "What sort of a coat has he on; or is it a 
jacket ?" 

Miss B, " It is a round jacket; and look, his hat has a 
round low crown." 

It instantly occurred to me tiiat she iiad described the 


dress of the Castle-Qarden Boat-club, whose boat-house 
stands at the farther end of the bridge, where also their 
boat is moored. There is generally one or more members 
of the club at their room, and I doubt not that one of the 
members was then at the club-house, and was seen by Miss 
Brackett. a member of the club, whom I met on the 
same evening, assured me that such was their dress, and he 
believed that one of their members must have been there 
at the time.* 

On approaching the massive portal of the garden-wall, 
Miss B. drew back, and said that she had rather not go in. 
It was " no garden,"' she observed, " and she did not like 
to go through that gate." It will here be remarked, that 
she seemed to have seen both of the gates, the bridge, and 
the castle walls, since it was one of her first observations, 
that she smv nothing like a garden. The misnomer of calling 
such a place "^ a garden," would, at once, strike the attention 
of any stranger. 

" I choose not to go in," she repeated. 

" Just as you say," I replied; " we will turn about and 
walk up town. Now, we are on the Battery. How do you 
like the trees ?" 

She here gave indications of not understanding why the 
esplanade should be called " a battery." I told her that 
the name was derived from an ancient fortress which stood 
there. " O !" she replied, ^' then this is the place of the 
old fort."t 

Having lingered a few moments, and the companion of 
my imaginary journey having expressed her admiration of 
the beauty of the place, I proposed continuing our walk up 
Broadway, to which she assented. 

'^ And here we are by the Bowling- Green," I remarked. 
" How do you like it ?" 

* It is rational enough to suspect that to be which is highly probable. The 
" belief of th*i member " supplies a sentence too much in so precise a narra- 
tive.— Ed. 

t Mentioned just now as the place of fireworks. — Ed. 


Miss B, " It is very pretty." 

Mr. S. " Well, here is Mr. Ray's house. How do you 
like that ?*' 

Miss B. " It is a splendid house." 

" On the left hand," said I. 

^' No ; on the right hand ; but stop/' she said, " why, 
there (smiling), I was turned round, and was vv^alking back 
down the street. You are right ; it is on the left hand."* 

At this moment her attention appeared to be divided be- 
tween two or more objects, one on either hand. I inquired 
what she saw on her right. She declined a direct answer, 
and evaded a reply two or three times. She then extended 
her arms to the left, as if curiously examining something by 
the touch. 

* It is impossible here to avoid experiencing the following reflections : — 
Taking it for granted, in order to possess a basis for reasoning thereon, that 
this narrative is a true story, and that the patient was not an impostor, we 
must believe that, in order to transport a somnambulist to a new place, he^ 
communication must be made with a person who knows that place, and to 
whom its surrounding objects, are well known. Had Col. Stone attempted to 
convey her to the North Pole, an unvisited region, he should have failed to elicit 
correct observations from the somnambulist, who, according to the only 
theory which can be erected on such statements, must at least see, if not 
reason, through the medium of the brain (or the mind) of her companion. 
How happened it, then, that when Mr. Stone saw that the house was a left- 
hand house, Miss Brackett considered that it was a right-hand object? — 
What follows is curious. Whether it increases the mystery, or supplies data 
for a solution, we leave the reader to pronounce ; but, if it happened that Miss 
Brackett was sitting opposite to, instead of at the side of, the Colonel, an 
object which was "right" to the one would be "left" to the other. To 
solve the riddle, it might be surmised that, when Colonel Stone began to 
think, more fixedly, as it were, that the house was on the right, the mind of 
Miss Brackett, to employ her own words, *' turned round " from the posi- 
tion into which it perhaps had, as it were, lapsed a few moments before. 
But what avails speculation on such a topic .' For, observe. Miss Brackett 
detected the presence of a man near the bridge, whom Colonel Stone clearly 
was not sensible, by imagination, of seeing. Yet, again, as it is hardly pos- 
sible for an individual to direct the " mind's eye " to any busy locality, with- 
out calling on the scene many living forms, the Colonel may have had moving 
in his brain the figure of a member of the Castle- Garden Boat-Club, almost 
with perfect unconsciousness of the fact, of which, however, the faculties of 
his companion were sensible and observant.— Ed. 


'^ I saw something like this at Washington," she re- 
marked.*" " It is carved/' she continued. 

She then turned to the object on her right, and I again 
asked what it was. 

She replied that she did not wish to tell me, and I inferred, 
as did others of the circle, that she had descried something 
that offended her delicacy. 

Then, turning to the left, she said, " Why, they are,'* — 

'' They are what ?" I demanded. 

" Why, I am trying to see." 

'^ What do they look like," I asked. " Do they resemble 
lions ?" 

"Yes," she replied, "they are lions, bronzed lions.'' 

I had spoken the word " lions " too hastily ; but her own 
unaided discovery, that the noble pair of lions dormayit, 
guarding the portals of Mr. Ray's house, were of bronze, 
rendered this incident the most striking development in the 
case, thus far. 

I then asked her of what materials the house was built. 

She replied, " I will feel it and see," suiting tlie action 
to the word. "Why," she continued, " I have seen a house 
built of the same materials in Boston." 

She was asked whether it resembled any building in Pro- 
vidence ; whether the colour resembled the Arcade. 

" It looks like the columns of the Arcade," she replied. 

Those columns are of Eastern granite, and so is the house 
of Mr. Ray. 

We then resumed our walk along Broadway, and, as we 
approached Trinity Church, she complained of the crowds 
of people. Presently she was embarrassed in getting along, 
as if shrinking from the crowd, and edging sideways, as 
though jostled by the throng. 

* This (adds Colonel Stone) was during her ideal visit of which I have 
spoken before, for she has never been there. The gentleman who made that 
dreaming visit with her, however, said that her description of some statuary 
there was correct. 


" I never saw people crowd so,*' she remarked, "Why, 
they run over a body without the least care." 

She was, indeed, much perplexed to go onward, while I 
was liberal in assurances of protection, telling her that New 
York was the grand receptacle of people of all nations, and 
that emigrants — Irish, Dutch, Swiss, French, Spanish, 
every body, — were wont to throng Broadway ; but that they 
would not injure her. and we should soon get through the 
multitude. Thus we proceeded as far as the Astor House. 

I asked her if she had ever heard of the Astor House. 

She replied that she had not. 

" Nor of Mr. Astor ?" 

" No," she replied. 

I then gave her an outline of the history of that gentle- 
man ; how he came to New York a poor emigrant, and, 
seeing a wealthy man building a large house in Broadway, 
mentally resolved one day to build a house still greater ; 
how he embarked in the fur trade, and, in connexion with 
this point, I introduced, incidentally, the name of Jacob 
Weber, formerly of German Flatts, with whom Mr. Astor* 
was connected, in early life, in the Indian Fur Trade, and 
whom I had once known very well. I repeated to her the 
well-known anecdote which has been related of Weber, 
and perhaps of a dozen others, that, in purchasing furs of 
the Indians, he was wont to use his hst for a one-pound 
weight, and his foot for two pounds. 

'^ But that was not just," interrupted Miss Brackett ; 
" it was not just, and I should not have thought they would 
have prospered." 

'' Mr. Astor had nothing to do with that," I continued ; 
adding, that his life had afforded a fine illustration of one of 
the essays of John Foster, whose picture she had been 
examining, — the essay on Decision of Character. She was 
quite interested in the story, and we proceeded in our walk. 

" What do you think of this house r " I inquired. 

* Now well known in England through the medium of Washington Irving's 
3ftte work, " Astoria."— Ed. 


"It is a noble building/' she replied. "I should like to 
get a good view of it ; but there are so many people crowd- 
ing me that I cannot stand here." 

'^We will, then, step across the street into the Park/* 
said I, " and you can then obtain a fine view. Here we 
will cross over; now; through the gate; there 1 " 

'^O/' said she, as in imagination I caused her to walk 
into the middle of the Park ; " I have been here before ! " 

She then stopped, and gazed up and around, as if taking 
a deliberate survey of the building. " How large ! '' she 

I asked her how many stories high it was. 

She counted in a low whisper, but so distinct that I heard 
it, " one, two, three, four, five." 

I inquired again, in order that she might speak out ; but 
she did not. 

" It is a splendid building," she continued. " I should 
like to go through it. Can we do so ? " 

"O, yes, certainlj^," I replied. " I will go through with 
you, with pleasure." 

Miss. B. " But there are so many people there." 

" I know them all veiy well," said, I " and there will be 
no difficulty." I then walked with her to the broad portal, 
where she rather shrunk back. 

Miss B. " I don't like to go up those stairs ; there are so 
many men standing there. Can we not come again ? " 

"To be sure we can," was my reply; "it will afford me 
much pleasure." 

Now, let any one, at any time of the daj-, step up to the 
portal of Astor House, and look up stairs to the first floor 
of the hotel, and say what forms of expression could con- 
vey a more accurate description of the entrance to that es- 
tablishment, and of the large groups of men standing there 
at all hours. 

We then resumed our walk, and I proposed to her to call 
at my own house, near by, to which she acceded. " We 
will pass the American hotel," I continued, " and turn to 
the left, down Park Place. It is a pleasant street, and 


my house is just at the foot of it^ adjoining the College 

"This is the corner, and here we will turn. How do you 
like that building at the opposite corner ? '^ I asked. "That 
is the old Mechanics' Hall." 

She stopped, and looking up, her attention was arrested by 
some object of interest. "What are you looking at, Miss 
Brackett ? " I inquired. 

"I was looking at that carved work," she replied. 

Mr. S. " What is it ? " 

3Iiss B, " That is what I am trying to study. They are 
— but you are in such a hurry." 

Mr, S, " O ! no ; you may look as long as you please. 
What do you think it is ?" 

Miss B, " I am trying to find out its meaning but you 
hurry me so from one thing to another." 

" Come," said I, after a short pause ; " shall we walk 
down this street? " 

"You are so impatient," said she. " When a gentleman 
walks with me," she continued, " I don't like to have him 
so impatient." 

The rebuke, my friends assured me, would doubtless have 
been well deserved, had I actually been walking with a lady 
on the business of sight-seeing; for it is but too true that in 
such matters I am always impatient and in a hurry. But to 
the point. Those who are acquainted with the premises which 
we were examining, will doubtless recollect the sculptured 
group above the cornice of the Mechanics' Hall, on the 
Park-place front, the figure of Charity dispersing her favours 
to several orphan children. It was this group that attracted 
the attention of my somnoloquial companion. 

" Can I not come back and look at it again ? " said she, 
when we resumed our walk. 

"That," said I, " is the College Green." 

" How beautiful ! " she exclaimed. "I must go and walk 

"But will you not step into my house first? " I asked. 
" It is close bv." 


" No, I must take a walk there first. But there is nobody 
there,'* she observed. 

" It is private ground/' I replied ; " but the President of 
the College is my next-door neighbour, and I have permis- 
sion to walk there whenever I please. The gate is always 
open, and we will step in for a few minutes." 

On reaching the foot of the street, " There !*' she ex- 
claimed, with a playful smile ; '' you said the gate was 
always open, but you see it is shut.'' 

" It is not locked, however," I rejoined, " as you will see, 
— There, you see I have opened it. Now, step in, and we 
will walk round the grounds. How do you like the Col- 
lege ?" 

" Very well," she replied ; " but there is nobody in it." 

" Because it is the vacation,'* said I, which was the fact. 

I then proceeded, during our walk, to give her a brief 
history of the College ; its breaking up at the beginning of 
the war of the Revolution ; the harangue of Hamilton to 
the people in front, while his Tory preceptor by that 
means was enabled to escape out of the back window ; in 
all of which she was much interested. It is proper here to 
remark, byway of explanation, that these conversations and 
episodes were necessary to entertain her during her imagin- 
ary walks, for she did not like being hurried ; and although 
it was all ideal, yet Miss Brackett wanted as much time 
as though she were in reality performing the exercise. She 
wished to stop at different objects, as frequently, to ad- 
mire, and to linger as long, as though she were actually 
awake, and not blind, but clear-sighted, and in New York. 

" How do you like the trees ?" I inquired. 

^^ Very well," she said ; " but there is one of them decay- 
ing, and should be cut down and taken away." 

I was not aware of this fact, and, from my knowledge of 
the trees, thought she must be in error. On examination, 
since my return, however, I find that one of the trees, in 
front of the wing occupied by Professor M'Vickar, has 
been sadly injured by being barked in several very large 
places ; and the trunk is otherwise diseased. A canvas 

bandage^ tarredj ha:^ been applied to the trunk, and the 
trunk itself has been smeared with that staple of North 
Carolina merchandise, tar.* 

I told her that the President of the College lived in the 
first wing. She replied that there was nobody living there 
now, the house being empty. On inquiry, I find that she was 
correct ; the house being shut up, and the President's family 
in the country. f 

I now proposed to end our walk, and step into my house, 
to which I endeavoured to lead her. The house is No. 36, 
Church-street ; is very peculiar in its construction, having 
no door upon the street, the entrance being by an iron gate 
into a little court. There is, on the opposite side of the 
street, a somewhat similar entrance, by a door into the yard 
of Mr. Douglass, corner of Park-place and Church-street, j: 
As we entered the Court, Miss Brackett shuddered, and 
clung to my side. I asked her what was the matter. She 
replied that she was " afraid of that black man in the yard.'* 

I reasoned with her against any apprehensions, or fear, 
but to no purpose ; and Mrs. Hopkins here remarked, that 
" LoRAiNA had always been afraid of negroes, and could 
not bear to be near them when well awake." Hovv^ever, I 
soon persuaded her to proceed, and to descend to the base- 

* This is a statement, again, which puts to the rout all the surmises in 
which the mind was disposed to indulge when noticing the right-and-left 
hand riddle (page 24), unless we suppose that in an imaginary view of many 
trees (albeit, in this case, seemingly a perfectly real one) the mind of the 
patient, from old associatioas, did actually parceive, or conceive, a de- 
cayed tree among many healthy ones. The existence of such a one at the 
time in the College Garden, might then be ranked in the category of* curious 
coincidences." — Eu. 

t This reply of the somnambulist, places a bar against all further conjec- 
ture on the part of those who, their organs of ca«*a/?7?/ being large, are prone at 
each step to seek for the reasons of events. If it fail to allay the restlessness 
of even the most persevering inquirer, there is wanted but the addition of 
one circumstance, presently stated, to perfect the sedative influence. — Ed. 

It is fair to the author to draw attention to the fact, that he has rarely, 
withheld minutia; of dates and addresses in his narrative, — those important 
tests of sincerity, if not »f truth.— Ed. 


ment story, in advance of myself, and see what the servants 
were about in the kitchen. 

She did so, and reported on her return, that there were 
two white women, together with a negress, who was engaged 
in cooking something sweet. 

I asked her, whether she was certain that both the white 
women were full grown, and she ansuered that they were. 

I inquired what the were about, and she said, *' that she 
did not like to tell p\o." 

I then descended into the kitchen with her, and asked 
her what the black woman had in her hand. 

She said, " that she did not know ; but that it looked like 
something sweet." 

I asked her to taste it. 

She said, '^ No ; that she could not taste anything cooked 
by a black woman, because it was not clean." 

On assuring her that a coloured woman, if well washed, 
would be just as clean as a washed white woman, she asked 
for a taste, tried it in her mouth, said it was sweet, and 
raised her hand to my lips, saying that I must taste of it 

It was evident that this was all incorrect as to our domes- 
tic establishment, and it struck me that she had by mistake 
entered the wrong house. I accordingly addressed her thus : 

" Why, Miss Brackett, we have made a mistake, and 
gone into a wrong house. Let us go out as quickly as pos- 
sible." Taking her thence into the street, 1 said, ''Let 
us cross over ; that is my house ; how do you like it ? " 

She replied that it was a very pretty house, and that 
she liked it much ; but it was a good deal smaller than the 

" How many stories has it ? " 

" Two," was the correct reply. 

'' How do you like those windows ? " 

" O, they are very beautiful ! It would be so sweet to sit 
and look out of those windows on the green." 

" Now," said I, *' let us walk along to the gate, and go 
in. We have been absent in Providence some time; I have 


left Mrs. Stone there ; and I want now to come suddenly upon 
theni^ and see if they are not playing high-life below stairs.'* 

As we passed along, my companion looked up, and said, 
" Why, I shovdd think you might as well cut a door through 
into the street ? " This would have been a more important 
pointy had I not some time previously remarked, by accident, 
that our house had no door into the street. Miss B. might 
have heard that observation, and sht ^light not. On arriving 
at the gate, I again sent her into the ki'chen, in advance, to 
take the servants by surprise, — a conceit which seemed to 
please her.* The passage into the kitchen from the court, 
is winding, and she entered with the caution of a stranger. 

She then said, as if to the servants, in a loud whisper, 
" Hist, the gentleman has come home ; I say, the gentleman 
has come.*'t 

Calling her out, I inquired how many servants were there. 
She replied, correctly, " Two." 

I inquired their ages, and she answered again, correctly, 
that the cook was a woman who seemed to be past the mid- 
dle age, and the other a young girl. In a word, she gave a 
very accurate description of the persons of two servants who 
had been left in charge of the house. 

I inquired the age of the smaller. 

She said that she could not tell, but would ask her. 

She then spoke. " How old are you ? Is that your mo- 
ther ? " Then, turning to me, she said, " She will not 
answer me.'']: 

She then inquired of the other, '^ Is that your daughter ? 
How old is she ? " Turning to me again, she remarked, 
" Why, she will not answer me, either." 

* This is highly characteristic— Ed. 

t And it would seem impossible to supply a more natural, truth-testifying 
statement than this reference to " the gentleman," and what follows. —Ed. 

X How truly MvXWie invention ! — En passant, here is, to employ a pun, rare 
testimony for the creed that " spirits are around us, and we know it not." 
Any cook would have started to see a Providence sprite at her apron, 
strings.— Ed. 


I asked what they were doing . She answered, *^ Not 
much of any thing," which I thought not unlikely. 

It being washing-day, I asked, " Are they not washing ?" 

She said, and repeated, that they were not. 

I asked what kind of a frock the girl had on. 

She replied that she could not see clearly : the room was 
rather dark ; but she believed it was a dark purple sprig. 

On both of these points she was mistaken. The cook was 
washing on that day, and the frock of the girl was blue, with 
a small light flower. It is proper to add, moreover, that 
there was no coloured woman engaged in culinary opera- 
tions, or otherwise, at the time in question, in the house op- 
posite, where I before supposed my companion had entered 
by mistake.* 

Addressing my fair companion again, I observed that we 
had been long enough in the kitchen, and that I had a num- 
ber of pictures in the drawing-room above, which I was de- 
sirous she should see. We, therefore, ascended through the 
always dark staircase-passage, and entered the drawing-room, 
where I attempted to direct her attention to several pictures ; 
but in her imagination she ran acros^s the room to the centre 
table, standing in one corner, expressing her admiration of 
the books with which it was covered. She glanced at several, 
speaking of the beautiful pictures with which they were 
filled. With one of them she seemed to me most of all 
pleased. I asked her what it was. 

She replied, " 111— Illustrations of the Bible.'' 

I had not thought of the table or books imtil she thus 
called my attention to them. 

"I saw just such a one the other day," she said, '^at 
Mr. Farley's, in Providence-street, only the cover of that 
was brown, and this is green." 

Mrs. Hopkins here informed me that this was so. She 
had seen, at the house of Mr. Farley, while in the state of 
magnetic slumber, a copy of the work she was now examin- 

* One begins to be startled now, at finding that the somnambulist wai 
wrong. -~^o. 


ing, which that gentleman, it was ascertained, did actually 

I knew that the "Bible Illustrations,'' with a heap of 
other literary and historical volumes, were lying on the 
table in question, and I knew that we had possessed one 
with a green cover. One of the two, however, had been 
presented to a friend, but of which colour it was I knew not. 
On returning home, I found that she was in error with re- 
gard to the cover, it being brown instead of green. But, by 
the side of it, lay the " Gems of Beauty," in green morocco, 
and another " Keepsake," bound in the same colour. 

Having satisfied herself with the books, she next turned 
to the pictures, though not without urging. Reaching up 
her hands, she took down a small painting, and asked me to 
look at it, placing it in my hands. I asked her what it 

^^ Ask me what it is," said she, " when you have it in your 
own hands, and know as well as I !" She would " do no 
such thing.'' 

I then asked her to examine the painting over the side- 

She looked at it for some time, and, in answer to ques- 
tions, expressed great pleasure at its beauty ; but I could 
not induce her to tell me what it was, or describe it, from 
the avowed reason that / ivas looking at it with her, and it 
was trifling with her to ask such a question. Dr. C apron 
here remarked, in the circle, that such was her usual course. 
Whenever she was looking at an object with, as she sup- 
posed, another person, she would not answer questions of 
this description, believing either that thej'^were not seriously 
put, or that the questioner was quizzing her, or sporting 
with her. All, therefore, that I could obtain from her, with 
the exception of general expressions of approbation, was that 
she '' did not like the man's coat in the fore-ground." Here, 
also, it should be noted, that when in the magnetic state 
she can talk only with the person or persons with whom the 
magnetiser has willed that she shall be in communication. 
She can hear nothing addressed to her by any one else ; nor 


can she hear the conversation which may be passing between 
any two individuals, nor even that of the person with whom 
she is in communication, if he direct his speech to any but 
herself. He must speak to her, or she hears him not, and 
only wonders why his lips move, and yet that he does not 

My next experiment was with another picture, of a very 
peculiar character. 

'^ Miss Brackett,"' said I, '^ there is a picture in the other 
room, hanging over the couch, which I value highly. I wish 
you would look at it."* 

Miss B. thereupon walked into the other room, the fold- 
ing-doors standing open, and looked with great interest upon 
the picture which I had indicated. But although she ap- 
peared to inspect it minutely, I could elicit no description 
from her. I told her that both the pictures were painted by 
a young and promising artist, a Mr. Hoxie, and that I 
valued them highly. He was a young man of great merit, 
and I would take some opportunity of introducing him to 

'' Where is he ? " she asked ; " I do not see him.'' 

I replied that he was not here now, but that I would see 
him soon ; and then I attempted again to elicit something 
of a description from her ; but she evaded me as artfully as 

Dr. C APRON here again spoke to me, of which circumstance 
however, she was evidently unconscious, and he remarked 
that when I had proceeded as far as 1 wished, he would come 
suddenly upon her, as if on a visit to New York, and after 
taking her from me, she would, without doubt, freely relate 
to him all that had taken place between her and myself. In 

* Statement of Mr. Jesse Metcalf, one of Miss Brackett's friends.— 
Colonel Stone. 

t I ought before to have remarked, that in no instance did I indicate to 
her what were the subjects of the pictures, and of the existence of three of 
them (of which I shall soon speak, and which I designed to make the partu 
cular tests) not a soul in the roons, as I believe, had any previous knowledge, 
excepting myself.— Colonel Stonk. 



this way, he said, I should be abundantly able to form an 
opinion as to the power of the magnetic influence upon the 
mind, when the body is wrapped in insensible slumber, so 
profound that the discharge of a park of artillery could not 
disturb her. 

There were various other paintings in the drawing-rooms, 
too many for a particular examination within the time at our 
command. Among them were several portraits. To one of 
these, an admirable head by Inman, Miss Brackett ob- 
jected, that the coat was too old-fashioned, and she wondered 
that they should have painted a man in such a coat. The 
remark as to the countrified cut of the coat was correct ; but 
she spoke of a quaker-coat as appearing upon one of the 
portraits was not there. 

She was asked if among the portraits there was any one 
whose picture she recognised. 

She replied that there was one gentleman whom she 
thought she had once seen in Providence. This was the 
portrait, by Frothingham, of one of my intimate friends, 
who was of the party, and to whom she had been introduced 
in the morning. 

I now asked Miss Brackett to walk with me into the 
library, — a small apartment built purposely as a library, and 
in a degree separate from the main body of the house. I 
told her that I had some pictures in that room to which I 
wished particularly to invite her attention, giving her, how- 
ever, not the slightest intimation as to the character of the 

On entering the library, ^'^This," said I, "is my den, — my 
literary workshop, where I can shut myself up, and be as 
secluded as I please. I built it on purpose." 

" O !" said she, " it is a nice little place ; I should like 
to shut myself up here too ; can't you go out and leave me 
alone, I want to read these books. But,*' she continued, 
" if you built this on purpose, why did not you make it 
wider while you were about it ? It is so long and narrow, 
and so close ; it wants some air.'' 

Now, these are exactly the criticisms upon my private 


'^ den/' which are made by all my awake friends j for it so 
happens, that in its construction, having but a small lot, I 
made a sad miscalculation as to the width of the room. I 
explained the matter to her, and told her that I would leave 
her with the books as long as she* pleased, after we had 
looked at the pictures. I then asked her to look at the 
upper painting, above the fire-place. Now, I must remark 
in this place, that that was a picture which I had recently 
purchased, and which had only been sent home on the pre- 
ceding Tuesday or Wednesday. No person in the room, 
excepting myself, knew of its existence. 

She looked at the picture, and became instantly pensive. 
Presently her bosom heaved with sighs. I asked her what 
she thought of it ? 

She said, that she did not like to look at it any more. 

I then requested her to look at the picture which was below. 

She did so, and in a moment was absorbed in curious 
interest ; but, as before, she would not describe it to me, 
farther than to say, that it was the portrait of a dark- 
coloured man ; but she brought her hand round her head, as 
much as to say, that there was something peculiar about 
the head. 

I then again directed her attention to the upper picture, 
and she immediately became pensive and pflfected as before. 
The experiment was repeated several times, until, in con- 
templating the upper picture, she sobbed and wept. 

" Well,^' said I, *^ if that picture affects you so much, 
Miss Brackett, you need look at it no more. I have 
here a picture, in this drawer, which I prize highly, and 
will show it to you ;" saying which, I opened the drawer, 
and handed to her the picture. 

She (in imagination, of course) took the picture, and ob- 
served in a whisper, as if talking to herself, " O ! it's a 

I asked her what she thought of it ? 

She replied, that it was *' very beautiful ;" but she would 
not describe it, from the reasons which I have already 
several times mentioned. 


I now requested Dr. Capron to take her from me, and 
resume his sway over her, for the purpose of the suggested 
cross-examination, through him, as to what she had seen. 

He took her by the hand, and the following scene en- 
sued : — 

Br, C. " Ah ! Lorain a, are you here ? " 

Miss B. " Why, Doctor, how do you do ? When did you 
come from Providence ? " 

Br, C. ^M have just arrived." 

Miss B, " \ am glad to see you." 

Br. C. " And I am very glad to see you. When did you 
come to New York ?" 

I forget the reply to this question. The conversation, 
however, was upon the common topics which would be 
naturally suggested by an actual meeting of friends under 
the circumstances imagined. The doctor continued thus : — 

Br, C '' Have you been engaged since you came to New 
York ? Have you seen anything ? " 

Miss. B. " O yes, Mr. Stone has been taking a walk 
with me, and has shown me a great many things." 

She then informed him, in answer to questions, of her 
walk through Broadivay, mentioning the lions, the Astor 
House, and other matters which it is not necessary to repeat 
for the purpose of this narrative. He then proceeded as 
follows : — 

Br. C. " Well, Loraina, when Mr. Stone was in Provi- 
dence, a few days since, he spoke to me of some pictures 
which he prizes highly. Did you see any of them ? "* 

MissB. " O yes. I went to his house, and saw a great 
many. I took down one, and handed it to him ; and, what 
do you think ? He wanted me to tell him what it was, when 
he had it in his own hands ? But I would'nt ; he pestered 
me with so many questions." 

• It is odd that the recollection of these pictures should remain with the 
somnamhulist, and that no thought of where she had been passing the 
supposed days, and sleeping in the nights, during the interval of the/<?tt; 
dat/s, did not exist in her mind.— En. 


I here suggested to the doctor, that he should ask her 
whether she saw a fruit-piece, and he did so. " O yes ;" 
was the reply, " that was the very picture which I took 
down, and would not tell him what it was/' 

This was correct. From what I could gather, when she 
began examining the paintings, I supposed that she referred 
to a beautiful fruit-piece by Ward, of London. The Doc- 
tor continued : — 

Dr, C, ^' Mr. Stone told me that there was a painting 
over the side-board. What kind of a picture was that ? '* 

Miss B. " It was a lake, with mountains around it. I 
thought it very beautiful." 

Such is the fact. The picture is a charming mountain 
landscape, the scene being a beautiful lake among the Cats- 
kill mountains, by Hoxie. 

Dr. C, " Well, what other pictures did you see ? What 
is that picture which Mr. Stone told me was hanging over 
the settee ? " 

Miss B. " O, it was a curious picture. It represents the 
Indians sitting in a hollow tree, which looks as though it had 
been dug out on purpose. And the tree is filled with marks." 

This was the most wonderful reply we had yet had. The 
picture is a composition landscape,byHoxiE5 containing the 
portrait of the decaying trunk of an enormous sycamore-tree, 
standing in the neighbourhood of Montezuma, New York. 
The artist has introduced a group of three Indians, and has 
likewise traced a number of hieroghjphics within the open 
trunk. These hieroglyphics are seldom noticed by visitors, 
unless specially pointed out. And yet this blind lady, with ban- 
daged eyes, who had never been in New York, nor heard a 
whisper of the existence of the picture, had discovered them ! 
The fact seems not only incredible, but absolutely impossible. 
But, as I believe, it is nevertheless true.* 

* This is the first opinion which the narrator has allowed himself to give on 
any event which arose during the interview, throughout the whole of its 
progress. — Ed. 


Dr. C. *^ Did you notice particularly any other pictures ? 
Mr. Stone told me that he had several in his library, upon 
which he set a high value. Did you see them ? " 

Miss B, "Yes." 

Dr. C. " What were they ? " 

She here again became affected, as she replied, " One of 
them was Christ in his agony, with a crown of thorns." 

This reply ivas astounding. The picture is an admirable 
copy of the Ecce Homo, by Guido. It had only been sent 
home a week before, and 1 had cautiously avoided mention- 
ing it to my most intimate friends, who were present at this 
extraordinary interview, until she thus proclaimed it. 

Dr. C. " What other picture did you see in the library ?" 

Miss B. " There was a portrait of an Indian Chief." 

This was another wonderful reply. The picture is an ad- 
mirable copy, by Catlin, ofa capital portrait of Brant, the 
great Mohawk warrior, which has recently been procured, 
to be engraved for the forthcoming life of that celebrated 

Dr. C. " How was he dressed ? " 

Miss B. ^^ Why, I can hardly describe it. His head was 
shaved, and / do7i't know exactly whether there was any hair 
left on or not. There was something on the top, but I could 
scarcely tell whether it was hair." 

This description was very accurate. The knot on the 
crown is the scalp-lock ; and the war paint around it, and 
something like a ribbon which tied it, would render it doubt- 
ful to a superficial observer, unacquainted with Indian cus- 
toms and costumes, whether there was any hair there or not. 

Dr. C. " Was there no other picture in the library ?" 

Miss B. " O, yes. He took out of a drawer a miniature." 

Dr. C. " Did it resemble the large picture ?" 

Miss B. *' I thought it did somewhat." (I believe I put 
this question to her when she was under my control.) 

Dr. C. " How was it dressed ?" 

Miss B. "It was a very handsome picture, and had a cap 
and plumes." 

This was another wonderful reply. The picture in ques- 


tion is a very beautiful miniature likeness of Brant, com- 
posed by N. Rogers, from two pictures of the Chief, taken 
when he was a young man, and first in London, in his court 
dress. The picture is designed to embellish the forthcoming 
work referred to, and lies yet in the drawer where it was seen 
and described by Miss Brackett, blind, previously uncon- 
scious of its existence, and two hundred miles off when she 
saw it. 

The Doctor now transferred the somnoloquist back to 
me. Taking her hand again, quick as a flash, we were re- 
stored to the place and position which we occupied at the 
moment of the Doctor's intervention. 

I resumed the conversation by asking her if she had ever 
heard of Wall- street. 

She replied that she had not. 

Mr, S. ^' You have heard of the great fire in New York ?'' 

MissB. "Yes." 

3fr. S. " Would you like to take a walk down there, and 
see how it has been rebuilt, and where they are building 
the new Exchange ?" 

Miss B. " I should like to go there very much." 

The imaginary walk was immediately commenced. 

" Here," said I, " is Trinity Church, the oldest in the 
city. Perhaps you would like to take a look into it ?" 

She replied that it would afford her pleasure to do so; 
adding, " but 1 guess you will be obliged to get the doors 
open before we get in." 

1 told her that the sexton would open them at once. 

^' Come," I added, " I will open the gate ; and — there — 
you see the doors are opened " 

The moment she had crossed the threshold, and arrived 
at the inner door, she paused, and, looking half round, 
smiled, and, as it were, bit her lip. 

Mr, S. " What attracts your attention now, Miss Brack- 
ett ? " 

Miss B. " I was looking at those awkward pews. / never 
saw such inconvenient pews.'' 

Mr. S. " What is the difficultv with them ? " 


Miss B, " Why, how they look ! " 

Mr. S, ^' But the richest people in New York attend 
church here." 

Miss B. " Then I should advise them to tear away these 
old pews, and build new and better ones." 

Now, it happens to be a fact that the pews in this church 
arie just the worst-looking and most inconvenient in our 

Mr, S, " How do you like the pulpit ? " 

Miss B. " I think it wants new drapery. Only see how 
old it looks. The cushion where they lay the Bible is quite 

1 have examined these draperies since my return, and 
should advise the vestry of that church to take the hint of 
the somnoloquist. The cushion is not exactly thread-bare, 
but the drapery both of the pulpit and the desk needs re- 

I asked her to look beyond the pulpit, and examine the 

She did so, and was deeply interested, but did not de- 
scribe it. 

I asked her which figure she liked best. 

She answered, " The standing figure." 

I inquired whether she understood the design of the 

She siad that she did. 

I am not certain whether I told her that it was a monu- 
mental structure, but I think that I did say that the standing 
figure was a personification of Religion. However, she 
gave no evidence that she fully comprehended the work. 

I asked her how she liked the lights behind. 

She replied, '^ Very well," and added, that she had never 
seen the light let in in that way before. 

On leaving the church I suddenly remarked, '' Why, Miss 
Brackett, after all, I omitted one thing at my house, 
which I very much desired that you should see. In our 
little basement room, the little snuggery where we breakfast. 


I have two pictures, one very curious, which you must see. 
Will you walk back with me, and look at it ?*' 

She replied in the affirmative. 

I immediately added, ^^ Well, here we are." 

" That's likely," said she, playfully ; " you have got there 
before I have started."* 

''Very true," said !• ''but I will comeback and walk 
with you. — Now, Miss Brackett, we are here, at all 

Miss B. " And is this your family breakfast-room r " 

Mr. 5. "It is." 

Miss, B, " It is a nice little place." 

Mr, S, " Now, Miss Brackett, look at that picture and 
tell me what you think of it." 

She looked, and began to smile, and was evidently much 
amused ; but, as before, she would give me no description of 
either. (Dr. Capron here observed to me, that if 1 charged 
her particularly to remember what she saw, she would do so, 
and tell me about it when awake.) 

1 then remarked, " If you will not tell me now, will you 
be careful to remember what you see, — what pleases you so, 
— and tell me afterwards ? " 

She promised me faithfully that she would. 

We had now been occupied nearly four hours, and my en- 
gagements were such as to render it necessary to bring my 
travels with this most interesting companion to a close. I 
therefore proposed returning to Providence, to which she as- 

" How will you go ? " I asked. 

Miss B, "We will fly." 

Mr, S. " Very well ; I am used to that mode of travel- 

Clasping both my hands in hers, she went through the 

* A remark calculated to excite new speculation and conjecture in the 
mind of the reader. — Ed. 


same process of ascending into the air, by my assistance, as 

" O, how beautiful it is," she exclaimed, "to look down 
upon the city 1 How vast ! How grand ! " 

Lingering a moment, as if hovering over the town, I 
directed her attention to several objects — the land and the 
water. " That dark mass of buildings," I said, *^ is the 
Bellevue Alms-houses. That high column is the Shot- 
tower : it is the highest structure on the island." 

"And we are so much above that ! " she interrupted. 

Mr, S. "Ah ! here we have New-Haven." 

"How beautiful ! " she exclaimed. " Stop, I must look 
at that. It is very beautiful." 

Mr. S. " And this is New-London. How are you pleased 
with it ? " 

Miss B. *' I don't like its appearance very well." 

"Nor does anybody else," I replied. "And here we are 
in Providence," I continued. 

I then assisted her in descending, as from the first flight, 
and asked her how she had been pleased with her visit to 
New- York. 

She replied, that she had been exceedingly gratified, and 
that she liked the route home very much, as it was one that 
she had never travelled before. 

Dr. Capron now again willed her away from me, resumed 
his control, and, by the peculiar mental process of animal 
magnetism, together with a few brushes of his hand over her 
forehead, awoke her. 

She at first complained of being somewhat confused ; but 
in the course of one or two minutes, resumed her self-pos- 
session, and was as cheerful and intelligent, and diffident 
withal, as before she had been magnetised. The Doctor 
had charged her to remember the circumstances of her visit, 
and he now questioned her respecting several incidents here- 
tofore detailed at large. 

Among others, he inquired again what was the particular 
object that had attracted her attention, and seemed to annoy 
her at the Bowling-green, opposite the lions. 


She blushed to the eyes, and said she must be excused 
from answering. 

He then asked her what was the picture in the basement- 
room of my house, which seemed to please her so much 

She laughed outright, as she replied, '' It was a funny- 
looking fellow, pulling a cat's ear." 

This was another remarkable answer, affording a still 
farther and most striking illustration of the mysterious power 
of this potent though unknown principle. The picture in 
question is an old and admirable painting, recently purchased 
by my friend, the Rev. J. C. Brigham, and loaned to me. 
It had but just been returned from the hands of the picture- 
framer, and had not yet been hung in the drawing-room. 
Its existence, I am perfectly confident, was unknown to any 
of the party present excepting myself, and the subject is that 
of a sly mischievous fellow, full of wicked laughter, teasing 
some antiquated lady, by pinching the ears of her favourite 
tabhy ! 

Such were the results of this extraordinary interview, and 
such the actual phenomena attending a single nap of mag- 
netic slumber, under circumstances where everything like 
ostentation, or a desire of display, or even of a private ex- 
hibition, was avoided, and where, I repeat without hesita- 
tion, deception, fraud, collusion, misunderstanding, and 
mistake, were alike utterly impossible, I have written fully 
and faithfully, omitting, as I believe, nothing that is essen- 
tial to a full illustration of the interview, — preserving so 
much of the very language used as a practised and pretty 
retentive memory has enabled me to recall, — giving the 
substance where the identical language is lost, and present- 
ing a simple and unadorned narrative of the truth through- 

In the early part of this communication, I have adverted 
to the extraordinary power of this young lady, — blind though 
she be, — of reading, while in the magnetic slumber, letters 
within several envelopes, without breaking the seals. This 


was a point to which I likewise directed my attention, and 
circumstances occurred to favour my design. 

On Sunday, August the 27th, while I vras in Providence, 
and on the day before that of my interview with Miss 
Brackett, a small packet was received by Mr. Isaac Thur- 
BER from Mr. Stephen Covell of Troy, containing, as he 
wrote to his friend, a note, w^hich he wished Miss B. to read 
while under the magnetic influence (without breaking 
the seal), if she could. Mr. Covell had been induced to 
try this experiment, in consequence of having heard of ex- 
traordinary performances of the kind, which, of course, he 
doubted. The package, a letter, was evidently composed of 
several envelopes. The outer one consisted of thick blue 

On Sunday evening, Miss B. was put into a magnetic 
slumber, and the letter was given to her with instructions 
to read it. 

She said that she would take it to bed with her, and read 
it before morning.* 

On Monday morning she gave the reading as follows : — 

" No other than the Eye of Omnipotence can read this in 
this envelopement . 1837." 

I made a memorandum of this reading, and examined the 
package containing, as she said, the sentence. She said then, 
namely, on Monday morning, that there were one or two 
words between the word " envelopement" and the date, as I 
understood her, which she could not make out. I examined 
the seal with the closest scrutiny. It was unbroken, and to 
open the letter, or to read it without opening it, with human 
eyes, was impossible. 

After my return to the city (New-York), viz., on Wednes- 
day, August 30th, I addressed a letter to Mr. Covell, to 

* So I understood the matter at the time of the interview. By a state- 
ment of Mr. Thurbkr himself, however, it appears that the clairvoyante did 
not take it to bed with her, but retired into a dark room to make it out, from 
choice, and read it to Mr. Hopkins, and a number of others, on her return. 


ascertain whether the reading of the blind somnambulist was 
correct. The following is his reply : — 

" Troy, September 1, 1837. 
"Dear Sir, — Yours, of yesterday, 1 received by this 
morning's mail, and as to your inquiry relative to the pack- 
age submitted to Miss B., while under the magnetic influ- 
ence^ I have to say the package came to hand yesterday. The 
sentence had been written by a friend, and sealed by him at 
my request, and in such a manner as was supposed that its 
contents could not have been read b}^ any human device, 
without breaking the seal. We think the seals have not been 
broken until returned. The sentence as read by Miss B. is, 
— ^ No other than the Eye of Omnipotence can read this in 
this envelopement. 1837.' And the sentence as written in 
the original^ on a card, with another card placed on the face 
of the writing, and inclosed in a thick blue paper was, — 
* No other than the eye of Omnipotence can read this sen- 
tence in this envelope. — Troy, New York, August, 1837-' 

" Respectfully yours, 
" Stephen Covell." 

"William L. Stone, Esq." 

/ myself also left a note, hastily prepared, for the blind 
lady to read, the contents of which were known only to me. 
It was carefully folded, so as to preclude the possibility of 
reading it, by the natural sight, without opening ; and sealed 
with seven wafers and two seals of wax, with my own private 
signet. By the mail of the following Saturday, I received 
the letter. The seals were unbroken, and exactly in the 
condition I had left them, with the answer written on the 
outside, in the hand-v/riting of the friend who had assisted 
me in obtaining the interview ; which answer is correct, so 
far as it goes. I have already remarked, that I was in great 
haste at the time of preparing the note ; yet 1 was deter- 
mined to leave something so much out of the ordinary track 
as to puzzle the lady, if possible. Accordingly, having the 
odd title of a queer old book in my pocket, printed in a small 
Italic letter, I wrote a part of the note with a pencil, and 


stuck oil two and a half lines of the small Italic printing, 
beneath, with a wafer. The note, written and printed, as I 
left it, was in these words : — 

" The following is the title, equally quaint and amusing, 
of a book which was published in England in the time of 
Oliver Cromwell: — 'Eggs of Charity^ layed by the 
Chickens of the Covenant, and boiled by the Waters of Divine 
Love, — Take ye, and eat.*'' 

1 subjoin the answer sent by Miss B. through an intimate 
friend : — 

*^ ^ The following is a title equally amazing (or amusing) 
and quaint, of a book published in England in the time of 
Oliver Cromwell : — 

*^^Eggs of Charity.' 

'' Miss B. does not know whether the word is amazing or 
amusing. Something is written after the ^ Eggs of Charity/ 
which she cannot make out." 

Why the clairvoyante did not read the whole note as rea- 
dily as she did the part which she did read, 1 am at a loss to 
give an opinion. On a minute examination of the paper, I 
find that, accidentally, in folding it, there was one thickness 
of paper over the first line which she did read, and the two 
thick wax seals, and a number of wafer seals, also, inter- 
vened over nearly the whole. Those seals were strong and 
deep impressions of my family crest, with the motto dis- 
tinctly shown ; and the whole was returned to me so per- 
fect, and in every respect entire, as at once to put at rest 
every suspicion of foul play, had such suspicion been en- 

1 am perfectly aware, my dear sir, that in allowing the 
preceding statement, which is no more than a simple and 
unadorned narrative of facts, to go forth to the world, 
1 am setting myself up as a target, at which scores of wit- 
lings and brisk fools will be sure to let fly successive show- 
ers of arrows. Indeed, I have already been assailed, from 
various quarters, through the public journals, and in the 
conversations of individuals, in consequence of a recent and 
very partial and imperfect publication, announcing my visit 


to Providence, and the experiments of the sealed letters. 
The Church CAro/iic/e, published at New-Haven, has arraigned 
me as a convert to " humbuggery and mystification/^ and as 
an easy dupe in transactions which " bear on their face the 
impress of gross imposition." Other journals have freely 
applied the phrase that I have been '^ outrageously hum- 
bugged." Others have alternately railed at and rebuked 
me. However, be it so. I should feel myself but a sorry 
knight of the quill to complain of missiles of which I have 
myself dispersed so many. If I am correctly informed, the 
Editor of the Church Chronicle will soon find an able ex- 
ponent of the mysterious principle in the Bishop of his own 
diocese. Still, whether that distinguished Prelate take the 
field or not, the facts recorded in this communication re- 
main the same. Meantime, your own reading must have 
taught you that neither theories nor principles are the less 
philosophical, or the less true, because they are disbelieved 
or ridiculed. The original projector of the employment of 
steam to move machinery, was denounced as a lunatic, and 
confined as a madman for persistance in the folly. Galileo 
was twice imprisoned for opposing the erroneous astronomy 
of Aristotle. Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the 
blood, was persecuted for that revolutionary doctrine ; and 
Jenner was denounced as a quack, for a discovery which has 
constituted him one of the greatest benefactors of modern 
times. Scepticism is not a new thing; and satire and ridi- 
cule, although they may deter the timid from avowing an 
honest opinion, are not tests of a theory, or of the value of 
a discovery or a principle ; and I know of nothing which 
should prevent the exercise of moral courage in uttering 
facts which are connected with the human mind, involving 
sleep, dreaming, and somnambulism,— the independence of 
our spiritual nature over our bodily organs, — and eliciting 
new views of the perceptive faculties and the nature of 
the soul. 

With regard to the imputation that a gross imposturie has 
been played off upon me, I have repeatedly said that the cha- 
racter of all the parties to the interview forbids the idea of 


fraud, collusion, or imposture, while the strongest eTidencc 
possible, and the most convincing to an individual, is that 
of his own senses. " We cannot," says Dr. Beatti*, 
'' prove by argument to ourselves that we are awake, for we 
know of nothing more evident to prove it by, and it is essen- 
tial to every proof, that it should be clearer than that which 
is to be proved." I will not therefore distrust the evidence of 
my own senses, where all the circumstances were such as to 
render deception impossible. The weight of other testimony 
depends upon the character of the witnesses for veracity, 
their means of knowing the facts related, and their ex- 
emption from such motives as might sway them from the 
truth. Witnesses sustaining such a character are entitled to 
full credit, and such was the character of the parties with 
whom I communicated during my visit to Miss Brackbtt. 
Is it any more unphilosophical to believe in the activity 
of the huinun soul dviring the suspension of the human 
senses by that pecuUar species of slumoer which is producd 
by *' magnetical " influence, the existence of which, to a 
greater or less degree, i take it for granted can no longer 
be denied ? Why deny to the soul the faculty of recognizing 
external objects through unusual ways, without the help of 
the senses ; or of visiting other climes ? 

1 am not without apprehension that you may yet inquire 
of me, what is my own belief on the subject ? I cannot 
deny the evidence of my own senses, and, therefore, I must 
believe in something. But how much to believe, or what, 
1 am puzzled to tell. Fraud, deception, imposture, I once 
more repeat, in the matters 1 have related, were entirely out 
of the question. On the whole, therefore, I must end as 1 
began, by quoting the sage conclusion of Hamlet, that 
there are " more things in heaven and earth than are 
dreamed of in our philosophy." 

I am, with respect, &c. &c., 

'^William L. Stonb." 
"To Dr. A. Brigham, New York." 


How speedily the mind might be eased from all disquietude respecting 
stories so marvellous and speciously detailed as that which precedes this 
page, if men would at once agree that nothing which is new, startling, and 
improbable, should ever be believed ! 

But time has often shown that strange and wonderful things — things 
which, indeed, have been termed "impossible," — are true and accomplishable. 
Therefore, a general consent to disbelieve, peremptorily, even " monstrous 
propositions,' is not likely to be obtained, and portions of mankind must and 
will continue to hear and receive statements of what is improbable. Without 
immediately passing on it the easy sentence of utter rejection. 

The caution will extend, not so much to estimating the posiibility of the 
alleged facts and propositions, as to investigating the accompanying testimo- 
nials, and the internal evidences of their truth ; and this disposition will in- 
duce the reader of the foregoing narrative to examine with care and delicacy 
the various statements of names, places, and persons, the manner of describ- 
ing, the accordance of parts, and the rationality of minute details in a seem- 
ingly irrational whole, which are presented to his view by Mr. Stone. The 
preliminary statements are such as to justify a careful perusal of every word 
of the main document. 

Say that the document is only extremely specious and plausible. It is 
plausible and specious enough to obtain many believers. Perhaps this may 
be because there exists an insufficiently cautious portion of the public. 
Still, the greatest sceptic cannot deny that the whole narrative presents many 
claims on our credence. 

A belief in mesmerism, to a greater or less extent, is to be found pervading 
the minds of some of the most distinguished men of modern times. 

A reference to these shall not here be attempted, especially since but few 
well-known advocates of the art reside in England, and are close and familiar 
to us, and readily and satisfactorily to be referred to. But mesmerism, the 
art of which the foregoing narrative is an illustration, certainly does possess 
disciples among the men of science in England. 

Of these there are two who can here be quoted, because the art has been 
publicly used by them. Dr. Elliotson, the able and learned physician of the 
North-London Hospital, and Dr. Sigmond, a gifted lecturer, of the highest 
character, on the Practice of Medicine in the London Medical Schools. 

The opinions of the former physician have been published in one of the 
London Medical Journals, The Lancet, and very fully in his work entitled, 



" Human Physiology," a short time 'since. It will be well to give a short 
analysis of his views on the subject, especially since he does not accord with 
the opinion that magnetised persons can accomplish such feats as are as- 
cribed to Miss Brackett. " I have no hesitation," he says, {Human Phy- 
siology, "Vol. 2, page 679) in declaring my conviction that those facts of mes- 
merism which I admit, (because they are not contrary to established morbid 
phenomena), result from a specific power. They are sometimes feigned, and 
sometimes are the result of emotion, or imagination, but that they maybe real 
and independent of all imagination ; I have seen quite sufficient to convince 
me." In May, 1829, Dr. Elliotson witnessed some mesmeric processes 
performed by Mr. Chenevix at St. Thomas's Hospital, Southwark. Several 
of these failed, and he remained unconvinced until another female was mes- 
merised, whom he presented, like the others, from amongst his patients 
in the hospital, and whom he thus describes : — 

" She was an ignorant Irish girl, and unprepared to expect anything. In a 
minute she plaintively entreated Mr. Chenevix not to proceed. The mani- 
pulations ' drew weakness into her, and made her feel faint.' She next com- 
plained of pain in the abdomen ; on a few transverse movements, she said the 
pain was gone : the same thing occurred several times, and once pain was com- 
plained of in the chest, but ceased perfectly after a few transverse movements. 
He darted an open hand towards one of her arms, and told her to raise it ; she 
could scarcely move it ; after a few transverse movements, she declared the 
stiffness and uneasiness were gone, and she moved it as well as the other. 
He produced all the same effects on the other arm, and then upon one leg. 
Her eyes were closed as perfectly as could be, and a piece of paper weighing, 
perhaps, a grain, being placed upon one foot, she instantly was unable to raise 
it; the paper was removed, and she raised it directly. All these things were 
repeated again and again, I telling Mr. Chenevix, in French, which part I 
wished to be rendered powerless, and which to be restored, and she being 
prevented as much as possible from seeing. Deception was impossible. Mr. 
C. looked round at me, and asked, in French, if I was satisfied. I really felt 
ashamed to say no; and yet I could scarcely credit my senses enough to say 
yes. 1 remained silent. H« then asked me, still in a language unintelligible 
to the patient, ' Shall 1 bring back a pain, or disable a limb for you once more?' 
I of course requested that he would do so. He complied instantly, giving her 
a pain in the che^t once, and disabling her several times from moving her 
limbs, and removing those effects at pleasure, according to the intentions he 
avowed to me ; the whole taking place exactly as it had done in my former 
trial wirh this woman " 

" From this time," says Dr. Elliotson, " I was satisfied that such a power 
as mesmerism exists, and hoped soon to inquire into it." The opportunity 
for pursuing this inquiry, did not occur to him sooner than at the close of 
eight \ears ; but in 1837, the arrival of a professed mesmeriser from Paris, 
M. DuP'»TET, afforded him the means of extending his belief. The following 
is an analysis of what he personally witnessed and believes on the subject: — 

"As mesmerism is extolled in nervous diseases, I selected three epileptic 
patients, a male and two females, at University College Hospital, in whose 
diseases I despaired of doing any good ; and one hysterical female. Several 


gentlemen and myaelf submitted to the manipulations. On some no effect 
was produced ; of the greater number, some experienced a tingling or strange 
sensation in the arms, legs, or face, frequently with little tv/itchings, an op- 
pression and unusual heaving of the chest in respiration : some always felt a 
heaviness or unusual sensation about the forehead, and even drowsiness, and 
on repetition experienced nothing more ; I was mesmerised frequently, and 
always, but once, with the effect of tingling and twitchings only. Many, 
who sat down laughing at the whole as nonsense, honestly confessed they 
were affected by some influence. Some of these believed in mesmerism^ 
like myself, and yet none could be sent to sleep. A visitor one day was put 
to sleep. The four patients were sent fast asleep, the man always, and in 
from five to ten minutes. One of the epileptic females was manipulated very 
often before she slept, although she was delighted at the process, and morti- 
fied whenever she was not subjected to it with the others. At length, however, 
she began to sleep under it ; but the process often failed with her. The other 
was for a great length of time sent to sleep invariably. The patients, when 
about to sleej), either showed a fixed stare, or looked heavy, and their eyelids 
gradually dropped or winked ; their breathing became heavy ; and sometimes 
they changed from waking to sleeping in an instant. When they were asleep, 
the head fell in one direction or another, the arms fell, they breathed loud or 
even snored. In some, twitchings of the fingers, feet, arms, legs, or face, 
took place : in the hysterical girl the eyeballs rolled rapidly, or the lower lip 
was raised and depressed. On awaking, she never could open her eyes ; 
but, on the Baron's making a few transverse passes above and below them, 
she opened them instantly. I, and others, every day made the same passes 
in vain. If we raised her eyelids, they instantly fell. We begged her to 
open them ; but, till the fingers of him who had mesmerised her made trans- 
verse movements, they remained closed, however long we waited. In the 
rest, the sleep lasted only from a few minutes to a quarter of an hour, but 
in her it was very protracted ; it was often so profound that she did not feel 
pricking or pinching ; and it seldom ceased till put an end to by transverse 
movements, when she walked) away as if nothing had occurred. The man 
often on awaking complained of a pain in some part, or some very strange 
sensation, which was immediately dissipated by transverse movements. At 
first he liked the process, and prepared the chair with delight; but, after a 
time, he took a dislike to it, and at length requested not to be mesmerised, 
but to trust to medicines for his cure, and I of course did not oppose his 
wishes. Yet at both periods the effects were precisely the same upon him. 

" One of the students tried the process upon an epileptic girl, a patient of 
the gentleman with whom he lived, several miles from the College, and sent her 
presently off to sleep for several hours. He offered to bring her to the Hos- 
pital, and she came three times a week. Her eyelids were always closed pre- 
sently, and she never could open them till the Baron made transverse passes 
around them. I always attempted, but in vain ; and, if I opened them forci- 
bly, they immediately shut again. From this moment, we could halloo in her 
ears, dash her arms in any direction, pull her hair out, pinch her hand, put 
snuff up her nose, but she was perfectly insensible, breathing placidly, till 
the Baron made two or three transverse movements, when she instantly 


awoke. These phenomena were too striking and invariable lor any rational 
person to disbelieve that some peculiar power had been in operation. Her 
lower jaw was always firmly closed in her sleep, so that none of us could 
open it ; but the Baron always caused it to open on niov ing his finger along 
it, or holding his hand in contact with it : it was opened more slowly by ma- 
nipulations made without touching her. On one occasion he held his finger 
near the meatus of the ear, and she presently heard, and from that time heard 
more or less, and talked, especially if he operated again upon the ear ; but 
after she was awakened she knew nothing that had passed in her sleep- 
waking. Still she was mesmerised many times before she answered questions : 
she heard a noise, and this roused her sufficiently to make her talk of what 
was present in her mind, but her words had no relation to the questions. At 
length she began to speak to every question ; and, on one occasion, on being 
teased to give an answer when she had repeatedly declared that she could 
not, she fell into a violent rage, rose, seized the inquirer, shook and pushed 
him with both hands, and, on being forced into a chair, after resting quiet 
for a few minutes, she rose and made at the same person again very fiercely, 
and sat down at last with difficulty, pale with rage, and her hands quite cold. 
Baron Dupotet thought it right to awaken her, and did so immediately, when 
she smiled with her natural good humour, and proved herself to be in com- 
plete ignorance of all that had just passed. 

" The power of mesmerism was shown as strikingly, though differently, 
upon one of my two epileptic female patients. She ceased to have epilepsy ; 
but fell into fits of ecstacy, perfectly insensible, though with her eyes wide 
open, chattering, mimicking, relating stories, &c. 

" She lay in bed, or sat, with her eyes open, saying a great number of 
things, such as she might say when awake, told stories, and with great ex- 
pression of voice, features, and manner, mimicked the voices and conversa- 
tion of many fellow-patients accurately, and minjicked the manipulations of 
Baron Dupotet; yet she saw nobody, could not be roused by hallooing in her 
ear, and bore the sharpest pinches with indifference. She was cross, ex- 
pressed displeasure at having been before magnetised, said she would not be 
made a fool of, complained of different things, shook her head, moving it 
forwards and frowning, and saying, * You dirty beast.' Her hands were very 
cold in such attacks, and her whole surface pale. She would suddenly come 
out of this state, stare about like a person waking, rub her eyes, become still, 
smile, and be completely herself, without the least knowledge of what she 
had been doing, and feel quite ashamed, and beg pardon, when hiformed that 
she had said we made a fool of her. After some hours, or days, the attack 
would return. But, before she remained permanently awake, she sometimes 
fell back repeatedly into the sleep-waking; and nothing could be more 
striking than to see her eyes suddenly fixed unconsciously, and then all the 
phenomena of perfect external insensibility and talking begin again in less 
than a minute ; and, in a few minutes, to observe her become suddenly still, 
look wild, or fall fast asleep, for an instant, rub her eyes, be sentient of every 
thing around her, smile, and, in short, in less than a minute be wide awake, 
without any knowledge of the state in which she had just been. This state 
could be put an end to by mesmerising her. 


" Generally she v/as restored in less than a quarter of an hour, even after 
this state had continued many hours, or even for a day or a week ; once or 
twice it resisted long manipulations, but they continued, excepting once, till 
put an end to by the process, and that once, I understood, she fell back very 
soon into the state again. These attacks, I have already said, changed to 
ecstatic delirium ; in the fits of which she was in possession of all her external 
senses, and these attacks were terminated by mesmerism, just like those of 
simple ecstasy or sleep-waking. They ended with momentary sleep. While 
sitting before the magnetiser, looking attentively at him, and saying all 
sorts of ridiculous and witty spiteful things, pale, with the countenance of a 
maniac, she suddenly seemed lost, her eyes rapidly closed for a moment, and 
then opened ; she looked astonished, and was in her perfect senses, smiling 
amiably, behaving in the most proper manner, in short, in full possession of 
her intellect and feelings. 

" These are the phenomena which I have witnessed. To ascribe them to 
emotion and fancy, to suppose collusion and deception, would be absurd. 
They must be ascribed to a peculiar power; to a power acting, I have no 
doubt, constantly in all living things, vegetable and animal, but shown in a 
peculiar manner by the processes of mesmerism. I have witnessed its power 
at least three times a week for two months; and should despise myself if I 
hesitated to declare my decided conviction of the truth of mesmerism. 

" But I have never witnessed more than what, it is certain, takes 
place in health and disease. I have seen persons sent to sleep. I have 
felt and heard others declare they had tingling, and heard some declare 
they had various other sensations and pains ; 1 have seen twitchings, 
convulsions, and spastic contractions of muscles, loss of power of muscle, 
and the most profound coma; and I have seen these evidently and in- 
stantly removed by the process. I have seen one sense restored in the 
coma by the process, so that the person was insensible in taste, smell, sight, 
and yet heard and answered questions well. I have seen paroxysms of 
sleep-waking and ecstatic delirium, which had been originally induced by 
its disturbance of a system already epileptic, put an end to, evidently, and 
in general quickly, by mesmerism. But I have not witnessed persons 
seeing through walls or pasteboard, nor tasting or smelling with the 
epigastrium or fingers ; nor speaking or understanding languages they had 
never learnt ; nor telling the circumstances past, present, and to come of 
persons they had never heard of before. Yet I have persevered with patience 
and docility. Often have 1 seen Baron Dupotet speak at the epigastrium 
and finger ends of the ecstatic and comatose patients : often heai'd him ad- 
dress them in a language with which they were unacquainted : often ask 
when they would have another fit; but nothing, which, till I witness such 
things, I must consider supernatural, has yet occurred. He has frequently 
said that these phenomena would soon occur, — that the patients would pro- 
bably soon become clairvoyans : but no. No marvel has yet presented itself 
in ray experience : nor has any good been yet effected in the diseases of my 
patients ; but the perfect coma induced in some of them would be an inesti- 
mable blessing in the case of a surgical operation, which I am jiositive might 
hflvr been performed, without the slightest sensation, on some of the female 


patients, exactly as took place at the Hotel-Dicu [(in Paris), where a can- 
cerous breast was removed in mesmeric coma from a poor woman without 
her knowledge. I have no doubt that I shall in time see all the established 
phenomena of sleep-waking, — writing, reading, and doing endless things 
even better than in the waking state. But, before I see, I cannot believe 
more. I cannot believe that even those strange phenomena are produced by 
it which some declare to occur occasionally in plain sleep-waking, because 
I must see such sleep-waking before I believe it. Yet I will continue a 
little longer with docility to inquire and learn." 

Dr. SiGMOND, like Dr. Elliotson, ina letter to the Editor of The Lancety 
Dec. 9, 1837, says, that he entered the field of inquiry respecting animal mag- 
netism a perfect sceptic, and still disbelieves, as he expresses himself, " in the 
existence of any fluid which can, at will, be made to pass from the body of a 
magnetiaer into that of another person, and thus, at command, produce un- 
wonted sensations." Still, he attempted magnetic manipulations himself, and 
he says that, in the course of them, he has observed " certain most singular 
phenomena to arise, with which he was previously totally unacquainted, and 
which," he adds, " I think are of some value, and may be found to lead to 
physiological and phsycological facts, and which, in some instances, might 
produce considerable influence in diflFerent conditions of the body." He was 
in a short time invited to pursue the subject, " by an illustrious individual. Earl 
Stanhope, who had devoted the energies of his highly-cultivated mind to an 
examination of the system," and the result satisfied him "that he could, by 
means of the mesmeric manipulations, give a very peculiar sleep, amounting 
almost to stupor, to a vast number of persons, especially those who were of 
the higher classes, they being much more sensitive to impressions on the 
nervous system." Having described one or two singular instances of this 
power, he announces, from the extraordinary quality of the" sleep, that re- 
searches of the kind should be pursued only with extreme caution. 

Having thus proved that mesmerism is producing very singular and unex- 
pected efl"ects at home, it is not unreasonable to hope that some further in- 
quiry will be made respecting such an account as we have now received from 
abroad. Mr. Stone, Dr. Brigham, and Dr. Capron, are real and well- 
known personages, of high character. Cannot some additional vouchers of 
their statements be obtained from them, in order to satisfy the English public 
whether belief on this side of the Atlantic ought to stop at the present creeds 
of our own countrymen, or advance so many steps beyond them ? It certainly 
does not seem desirable that all the portrayed marvels should be true. 

Printed by Mills and Son, Gongh-sqnaie, Fleet-street. 


, 1838